Monday, February 28, 2011

1955 Topps #151 - Red Kress

Ralph 'Red' Kress (b. 1907 - d. 1962) played in the majors from 1927 to 1936, 1938 to 1940 and 1946 for the Browns, White Sox, Senators, Tigers and Giants. He retired with 1,454 hits, 89 home runs and a .286 batting average. He is pictured on this card as a coach for the Indians. He also served as a coach with Casey Stengel during the New York Mets' inaugural season. Two months after the season ended, Kress suffered a heart attack and passed away.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Duke Snider - 1926-2011

Duke Snider passed away today at the age of 84. Apparently he had been dealing with some health issues recently. This is a shame, because I have really taken an interestin the Dodgers over the last few years since Max and I have gotten close. I got the news today from Drew who was listening to the Yankee spring training game.
I tried to get him as a TTM autograph a month ago, but I guess his health was not very good, then either. I'm really sad. The Duke of Flatbush will definitely be remembered as a baseball legend. Rest in peace, Duke, you'll be missed.

1955 Topps #150 - Mike Higgins

Mike 'Pinky' Higgins (b. 1909 - d. 1969) played in the majors from 1930, 1933-1944 and 1946 for the A's, Red Sox, and Tigers. He retired from playing with 1,941 hits, 140 home runs and a .292 batting average. He managed the Red Sox from 1955 to 1962 and compiled a managerial record of 560-556. His teams finished as high as third place in 1957 and 1958.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

TTM Success - Rollie Fingers

I mailed to Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers on Saturday, February 18, 2011 and received this signed ball today - Saturday, February 26, 2011. I sent Mr. Fingers $10 to sign the ball, and I'm very happy with it! This is my 21st (different) signed ball of a Hall of Famer. He has a really awesome signature. I had written him a note as well, talking about how he is a fan of drag racing, but I didn't get a response. Oh well. I'm still really happy with this return. I also think that the ball picked up really well on camera. I'm really picking up some sweet TTMs. Thanks Drew for giving me the idea to go for them!

1955 Topps #149 - Ray Crone

Ray Crone (b. 1931) played in the majors from 1954 to 1958 for the Braves and Giants. He retired with a record of 30-30, 260 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.87. He was traded from the Braves in 1957 with Danny O'Connell and Bobby Thomson for Red Schoendienst.

Friday, February 25, 2011

1955 Topps #148 - Hal Brown

Greensboro, North Carolina's own Hal Brown (b. 1924) played in the majors from 1951 to 1964 for the White Sox, Red Sox, Orioles, Yankees and Colt .45s. He retired with a record of 85-92, 710 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.81.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hall of Fame Spotlight - Joe Medwick

Plaque photo borrowed from

Joe Medwick (b. 1911 - d. 1975) was a member of the legendary 'Gashouse Gang' Cardinals teams of the 1930s. I had never heard of him, so I thought this would be a good time to take a look at the player and see why he was elected to the Hall of Fame. Medwick was nicknamed 'Ducky Wucky' (yeah, you read that right) by the fans due to the way he waddled when he walked. Apparently, his teammates called him 'muscles' and didn't dare call him the other nickname. Good idea. Medwick played in the majors from 1932 to 1948 for the Cardinals, Dodgers, Giants and Braves. His career numbers are pretty decent: 2,471 hits, 205 home runs, 1,383 RBI and a .324 batting average.
He was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Writer's Association in 1968 with 84.8% of the vote (his 9th ballot).
What makes him a Hall of Famer?
  • 1937 NL MVP
  • 1937 NL batting champ (.374)
  • Member of 1934 World Series Champion Cardinals
  • Led the league in hits in 1936 and 1937 (223, 237)
  • Led the league in RBI 3 times - 1936 (138), 1937 (154) and 1938 (122)
  • His career .324 average ranks 47th all-time
  • His 540 doubles rank 28th all-time
  • 10-time All Star (1934-1942, 1944)
  • Batted .300 or higher in 11 seasons (10-straight)

Should he be a Hall of Famer?

  • Gained election on his 9th ballot (84.8%)
  • Led the league in errors for outfielder in 1934 (14)
  • Didn't reach magic numbers of 3,000 hits or 500 home runs, but his career average of .324 is very good.
  • Has one of the worst nicknames I've seen (Ducky isn't bad, but Ducky Wucky is painful)

The Verdict?

Looking at his career numbers, yeah, ok, so Medwick didn't reach 3,000 hits or come close to 300 home runs, let alone 500. Oh well. We led the league in RBI, hits, average, doubles, triples, runs, on numerous occaisions. All-around, Medwick was a phenomenal hitter. I vote YES, Medwick should very much be a hall of famer.

Checking out Ebay, you can find a signed post card, index card or photo of Medwick averaging around $125 authenticated. I only saw one baseball and it was selling as a buy it now for $1,799.00.

1955 Topps #147 - Laurin Pepper

Laurin Pepper (b. 1931) played in the majors from 1954 to 1957 for the Pirates. He retired with a record of 2-8, 40 strikeouts and an ERA of 7.06.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

1955 Topps #146 - Dick Donovan

Dick Donovan (b. 1927 - d. 1997) layed in the majors from 1950-1952 and 1954-1965 for the Braves, White Sox, Tigers, Senators and Indians. He retired with a record of 122-99, 880 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.67. He won 20 games in 1962 with the Indians.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mailday - 1948 Bowman Dutch Leonard

I got this 1948 Bowman in the mail today from a blog reader who noticed that I needed it when they saw my needs list on the side. Leonard (b. 1909 - d. 1983) pitched in the majors from 1933 to 1936 and 1938 to 1953 for the Dodgers, Senators, Phillies and Cubs. I need 32 more, or 67% of the set, still.

1955 Topps #145 - Elmer Valo

Elmer Valo (b. 1921 - d. 1998) played in the majors from 1940-1943 and 1946-1961 for the A's, Phillies, Dodgers, Indians, Yankees, Senators and Twins. He retired with 1,420 hits, 58 home runs and a .282 batting average.


Monday, February 21, 2011

1955 Topps #144 - Joe Amalfitano

Joe Amalfitano (b. 1934) played in the majors from 1954-1955 and 1960-1967 for the Giants, Colt .45s, and Cubs. He retired with 418 hits, 9 home runs and a batting average of .244. He went on to manage the Cubs from 1979-1981.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Autographed Baseball - Don Newcombe

I picked up this baseball sometime last year and for some reason never got it posted. Here it is, Dodger great Don Newcombe. He was the first ever Cy Young Award winner and the only major leaguer to have won the Rookie of the Year, Cy Young Award and MVP. Newcombe was born in 1926 and played from 1949 to 1951 and 1954 to 1960 for the Dodgers, Reds and Indians. He had a career record of 149-90 with an ERA of 3.56 and 1,129 strikeouts. He is interviewed all the time on XM radio and whenever he is on, I turn it up because his stories are great.

1955 Topps #143 - Dick Schofield

Dick ('Ducky') Schofield (b. 1935) played in the majors from 1953 to 1971 for the Cardinals, Pirates, Giants, Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox and Brewers. He retired with 699 hits, 21 home runs and an average of .227. He won the World Series with the 1960 Pirates. His son Dick played in the majors from 1983 to 1996. His grandson is Jayson Werth, who just signed a huge deal with the Nationals.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

TTM Success - Earl Weaver!!

I mailed to Earl Weaver c/o the Miami Childrens' Hospital on January 18. I got the ball back today - 1-month TAT. I also sent $20.00 with it, which is what Weaver charges, but it went to a good cause. Earl is someone I have wanted to get for a while now, even more so since I was shoulder bumped by him at the Evening With Brooks thing in October 2009. I think the ball looks awesome! I only need Frank Robinson and Eddie Murray now as far as Orioles Hall of Famers. Time to get moving on that, for sure. Earl is my 20th autographed baseball by a Hall of Famer.

1955 Topps #142 - Jerry Lynch

Jerry Lynch (b. 1930) played in the majors from 1954 to 1966 for the Pirates and Reds. He retired with 798 hits, 115 home runs and a .277 batting average. He is considered one of the best pinch hitters of all-time, and ranks 10th all-time with 16 pinch hits.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Mail from Blog Reader Matt

I got an email from blog reader Matt the other day regarding the 2011 Topps SP Ernie Banks the I pulled during my 3-box bust that I did. I need to send Matt the Banks, but he already sent me his end of the trade. This 2010 Topps SP Frank Robinson. I love the photo used for this card. I need to get into Frank more, as I don't have a whole lot of his stuff. He was a beast back in the day and was the key component that put the 1966 Orioles toward the World Series championship. Thanks a lot Matt! Your mailer will hopefully be sent out tomorrow. If not then, it definitely will go out Tuesday! (Mail will not run on Monday due to President's Day).

*Check out Matt's blog:

1955 Topps #141 - Tom Wright

Tom Wright (b. 1923) played in the majors from 1948 to 1956 for the Red Sox, Browns, White Sox and Senators. He retired with 175 career hits, 6 home runs and a lifetime batting average of .255. He is also from Shelby, North Carolina.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

TTM Success - Dick Groat

The hits keep on coming! I mailed to 1960 NL MVP Dick Groat on February 10th and got the signed ball back today (February 17). That makes it a 7-day TAT. I discussed Groat here when his 1955 Topps card came up. I'm really happy, his signature looks great. Now, I have to figure out who to send to next.

1955 Topps #140 - Mel Parnell

Mel Parnell (b. 1922) played in the majors from 1947 to 1956, all for the Red Sox. For 5 of those seasons, he was a pretty darn good pitcher. He led the league in wins in 1949 with 25 and had 21 wins in 1953. He had a career record of 123-75, 732 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.50. Not a bad line, for sure.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Got My MCG Cards Today!!

So, I took the plunge and paid Topps' exorbitant shipping fees and claimed most of my MCG (Million Card Giveaway) cards. They came today.
This is the highlight of the cards I was able to redeem, a 1964 Topps ERA Leaders Koufax. I wasn't about to let Topps get this card back. Anytime I can get a Koufax for free, I'm going to take it.

I was happy when I got this Larsen, but as you can see, the one they sent me had these two lines across the front. Epic fail. Come on Topps, this card wasn't printed in 2009, it was 1962... there shouldn't be roll marks on it.

I got two '71s that were needed in my set. I'm happy that one of them was for the O's winning the '70 World Series. Very nice!!

I also got two 58 Topps, see below. I love how the red pops when it is scanned. They look great.

Finally, the oldest card I got was this 1956 Topps. I have a good bit of key cards from this set, so completing it may be in my future plans... I have to get the Mantle, though.
So, I'm really satisfied with my pickups. I got 30+ cards, but only had time to scan a few of them. Several will be traded to some friends, and a few will be sold at card shows. Overall, Topps did pretty well with the program. I hate that they were giving away 2009 Topps cards in the promo, you can find those at stores still... Oh well.

1955 Topps #139 - Steve Kraly

Steve Kraly (b. 1929) played a total of 5 games in the majors in 1953, for the Yankees. I wonder why they waited until 1955 to put him on a card? He was 0-2 fr his career with 8 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.24.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

TTM Success - Jim Bunning

I mailed to Hall of Famer Jim Bunning on February 2, 2011 and received this signed ball today (February 15, 2011). This was a 13-day TAT, which is pretty good. He also signed it for free.
Bunning (b. 1931) played in the majors from 1955 to 1971 for the Tigers, Phillies, Pirates and Dodgers. He threw a perfect game in 1964 and a no hitter in 1958. He retired with the second-most career strikeouts at the time (2,855). He had a career record of 224-184 with an ERA of 3.27. He is the only pitcher to have struck out Ted Williams three times in one game. His is my 19th baseball signed by a Hall of Famer and my 9th TTM success.

**CORRECTION - I just checked my delivery confirmation info; I sent the ball out on February 2, not February 8 like I has previously stated. It has been corrected.

1955 Topps #138 - Ray Herbert

Ray Herbert (b. 1929) played in the majors from 1950-1951, 1953-1955 and 1958-1966 for the Tigers, A's, White Sox and Phillies. He had a career record of 104-107, 864 strikeouts and an ERA of 4.01. In 1962 he won 20 gamesand was on the All Star team. He also led the league in shutouts in 1963 with 7.

Monday, February 14, 2011

1955 Topps #137 - Harry Elliott

Harry Elliott (b. 1923) played in parts of two seasons (1953 and 1955) for the Cardinals. He had 45 career hits, 2 home runs and an average of .256. Take a look at his 1954 numbers in the minors. 224 hits and a .350 average. Had he been able to translate those to the majors, that definitely would have been an MVP caliber year, for sure.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

2011 Topps Series 1 By The Numbers

I've been meaning to post the breakdown of the 2011 Topps Series 1 box bust for a while now, so here goes. I opened 3 jumbo boxes and 2 retail packs, here are the results:

  • 3 complete sets made
  • 229 duplicates
  • 3 original back 60 greatest Topps cards
  • 1 original back Topps the Lost Cards (Stan Musial 1957 Topps)
  • 30 60 years of Topps cards
  • 30 Diamond Duos
  • 30 Topps 60 inserts
  • 15 Topps Gold Parallel
  • 30 Topps Diamond Parallel
  • 2 Topps Black Parallel (Josh Hamilton and Peter Bourjos)
  • 30 Minis
  • 30 Diamond Giveaway redemptions
  • 2 Legends SPs (Berra and Banks)
  • 3 Manufactured Leather Nameplates (Lincecum, Pujols and Kershaw). The Pujols is the serial numbered black version
  • 3 Jersey Relics (Sabathia, Daniel McCutcheon and Justin Upton)
  • 3 Autographs (Adam Jones, Chris Getz and Matt Harrison)
  • 8 History of Topps
  • 16 CMGR vintage reprints
  • 30 Toppstown
  • 15 Topps 60 'The Lost Cards'

So, there you have it. Not a bad haul. I doubt I'll put together any of the insert sets. I love the Diamond parallels, that's for sure. I'm excited to see when I get from the redemptions.

1955 Topps #136 - Bunky Stewart

Bunky Stewart (b. 1931 - d. 2007) played in the majors from 1952 to 1956 for the Senators. He retired with a record of 5-11, 77 strikeouts and an ERA of 6.01. Stewart was from New Bern, NC and was a graduate of East Carolina University. I live maybe 10 minutes from there. Always cool to see a local alum who made it to the big time.